A brain is a terrible thing to waste. Education isn’t about being a “snob”; it’s about questioning your own views and considering those of others, reading and listening and evaluating. It’s called critical thinking, not making up your mind about everything on blind faith.
This morning I went to my car repair establishment for an oil change. Scott, the owner, is trustworthy, considerate, smart, and a Massachusetts native so we have that New England connection. Every few months we have a thought-provoking political discussion.
Scott is an Independent. He voted for Barack Obama in 2008 but tells me he won’t vote for the prez this time around. Consider who he’s up against, I tell Scott. He wishes Obama had a stronger opponent to really debate the issues. He’s not done thinking about what he’ll do on Election Day.
And there’s something else nagging at Scott.
“I don’t think religion has any place in politics,” he says.
We agree. Faith — whether it’s based on religion or no religion, the color of the sky at sunset, or some deeply held ethical principle — is a personal affair. So-called conservatives who insist that religion belongs in government are missing the entire backbone of their supposed political philosophy. Don’t conservatives spout the need for government to stay out of our lives? Whose view of religion wouldn’t make Santorum throw up?
More important, the separation of church and state is a key element of the U.S. Constitution. The First Amendment assures that all Americans have the right to freedom of religion, and it does not prohibit the establishment of a new religion, which inherently means no government intrusion. (OK, I’ll stop being Ms. Social Studies Teacher).
Sen. Olympia Snowe, a moderate Republican (one of the last two, along with Sen. Susan Collins from Maine), announced today that she won’t run for re-election. She’s tired of the “my way or the highway” politics in Washington today. I commend her, as I did when we chatted at a cocktail party on Mount Desert Island years ago. She refused to jump into the partisan fray against President Clinton during the ludicrous impeachment proceedings against him. Olympia Snowe is civilized.
Thank you Scott for running an honest Tucson small business. Thank you Senator Snowe for representing Maine honorably for more than three decades. Today I have faith — and it’s not religious — that sensible Americans (not just Mainers and other New Englanders) — will vote for a presidential candidate who uses his brain.